Wanna know more about the world’s greatest detective? Nope, we’ve got nothing Batman related today, but instead it’s all about Sherlock Holmes Chapter One and Frogware’s creative re-imagining of his dark past.
Due to release on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5 and PC in 2021, Sherlock Holmes Chapter One comes from the team behind previous Sherlock adventures, and that of The Sinking City, to deliver the next instalment in the world-reknowed detective’s life.
Running as a third-person, open-world story-driven detective thriller and acting as a prequel to the personal story, Frogware are attempting to deliver a creative re-imagining of what events could have led to Sherlock becoming the iconic sleuth many know today.
“This time around we wanted to be more creative with the story we told and found an idea that hasn’t really been touched on by other adaptations – Sherlock’s “first big case” as a young 21 year old adult. He is Sherlock at his core, but at this point he’s more raw talent than refined genius. Reckless and impatient and a tad brazen, but unknowingly already on the path to greatness.” says Antonina Melnykova, Lead Narrative Designer
“Same with the location. We wanted to try something different to the all too familiar murky Victorian era London. While still set in the 19th century, we’re now exploring an isolated, sun-scorched Mediterranean inspired island where class divides and corruption are the foundations of this society. This is where our Sherlock spent his childhood. And now as a young adult, he is forced to return here and uncover the hazy truth behind the death of his mother – a loss that shattered his childhood many years ago and forced his move to London. And like always, Sherlock is not alone in his adventures. Before he befriended John Watson, Sherlock had a different best friend, Jonathan, and their relationship will be the central part of our game.”
“While we’re getting more creative with the backstory of Sherlock, fans of the series and character can rest assured we’re sticking close to the source material to keep it cohesive. Most people have a firm view of who Sherlock is. Our story isn’t about changing that, but rather exploring how he could have come to be this way, exploring ideas right down to how he acquired his penchant for the violin, his distinct hat and even his addiction to drugs.”
Delivering a new take on investigation and combat, along with a new story and setting, the game is built around what the team are calling their “Global Investigation System”. Heavily updated from the approach taken in The Sinking City of “no hand holding” gameplay, this new system is intended to go even further and give players much more freedom in solving cases in a way that feels like genuine detective work.
“The Global Investigation system is mainly about having players rely more on their intuition and case solving skills. Clues in Chapter One are acquired and analysed through a massive array of skills, tricks, tools and methods at Sherlock’s disposal. Since there are so many combinations, players will need to really think things through like a detective since brute forcing clues together until the game reacts isn’t going to be very effective.” says Yaroslav Martyniuk, Lead Feature Designer
Sherlock Holmes Chapter One will however also features a combat system, along with utilising Sherlock’s legendary observation skills rather than brute force combat.
“We looked closely at the fan and press feedback we got from The Sinking City and previous Sherlock games. This feedback defines the features in Chapter One: investigation, story, combat, exploration etc. For example, the combat system in Chapter One has been built completely from scratch, and many other mechanics are undergoing changes / improvements to make the game pace better overall.”
Further details are still pretty thin on the ground, but we know that Sherlock Holmes Chapter One will be a complete game, developed and self-published entirely by Frogwares in Unreal Engine 4. Launch is set for sometime in 2021 with the game becoming available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5 and PC.
Will you be keeping an eye on how this one develops?